St Leonard’s church in Seaford, my new favourite place, is a really lovely building; we didn’t go in – that’s on the itinerary for next time – but just from the outside you can see how beautiful it is.
Apparently, the large nave inside dates from about 1100 and it is 22ft across and this was as far as I can gather, the original building with the aisles and towers added later. Seaford was of much greater importance in the past and was one of the original Cinque Ports, and as an important place it was subject to many attacks from the sea by pirates and by the french, and no doubt, French pirates. French raids on the town – the last of which was in 1559, probably left their mark on the south arcade which shows fire-damage. From the pictures I have seen, there is some fine stained glass in the windows, so we had better try and choose a sunny day to visit to see it at its best!
I wondered who St Leonard actually was, and apparently, legend has it that he was French and a noble at the court of Clovis I; he converted to Christianity and was given the right to free prisoners who he thought deserved their freedom. He went on to become a hermit, and then founded a monastery; as you might imagine he is the patron saint of prisoners, especially political prisoners and unjustly imprisoned people, prisoners of war, and other captives. He also, by the way, is the patron saint of women in labour and also as well as horses!
Here is a link to a site about Sussex parish churches, and the church of St Leonard’s in Seaford: